The 5 Biggest Surprises From CRN's Best Companies To Partner With

Expect The Unexpected

In the second annual Best Companies to Partner With project, CRN asks VARs to rank their must-have technology vendor partners. As with any study, there are expected winners, others that fall from grace and then, of course, the unexpected. Here are the five biggest surprises in the 2012 Best Companies to Partner With.

Cisco Moves To The Top Spot

CEO: John Chambers

While Cisco does indeed have a strong relationship with the channel, in one year they were able to jump from No. 5 to the top spot, pushing out Microsoft and beating out Intel, VMware and HP. Cisco has been working hard to build its channel with solution providers, developing programs such as Smart Solutions and providing advanced training and support for partners.

Adobe Moves Up 14 Spots To No. 8

CEO: Shantanu Narayen

The document management and digital marketing firm barely made the list last year. In 2012 they jumped 14 spots, breaking into the top 10. By re-organizing around content authoring and digital marketing, Adobe was able to provide more opportunities for VARs in those markets.

As A Newcomer, Apple Jumps In At 12

CEO: Tim Cook

Apple made it in the top half of the 2012 Best Companies to Partner With after not even being on the list at all last year. A combination of strong products, BYOD taking the market by storm and a relatively new channel program helped it gain the attention of VARs. In 2012, Apple came to market with iOS 6, the iPhone 5, the iPad mini and new MacBooks.

EMC's First Showing Puts Them At No. 15

CEO: Joe Tucci

EMC's midsize and small business efforts are clearly paying off as it beat out Samsung, Oracle, SAP, Juniper and 6 others this year. Though EMC has a strong direct-sales force culture, its VNXe line and the launching of its EMC Cooperative Services and Velocity Cloud Practices are getting significant attention from the channel.

Seagate's Fall From Grace

CEO: Steve Luczo

After breaking into the top 10 of last year's Best Companies to Partner With, Seagate was a no-show in 2012. While Seagate remains committed to the channel as it has for years, channel partners over time have become more focused on storage solutions and related services and less on individual components such as disk drives.